Chapter One of Book Harvest’s story began in 2011. The setting was a dusty garage filled with donated books, and the cast of characters was small…just a handful of quirky dreamers eager to join me in unlocking book ownership and a love of a good story for children in Durham, North Carolina.
From those humble origins, Book Harvest’s story has been written with a momentum I could have never imagined. From a grassroots effort fueled by volunteers, to an ever-growing team of 19 professionals; from a handful of book provision events throughout the community, to hundreds of bookshelves brimming with books in homes, classrooms, and doctors’ offices, on street corners, at bus stations, and in laundromats; and from a few boxes of donated books in a garage, to more than 1.6 million books harvested by children and families – books they have taken home to read again and again, theirs to keep forever.
In 2021, Book Harvest concluded its first chapter – our first decade – with a rich and effective portfolio of programs dedicated to transforming children’s literacy.
In our home community of Durham, we have forged an ecosystem of robust and resilient children’s literacy, fueled by our dream of books for every child and support for every parent, starting at birth, and by a passion for helping every community build a culture of childhood literacy. It is spectacular to witness. And, fortified by all that Durham has taught us, it is time to grow.
In 2022, as we launch our second decade, we are laying the groundwork to expand our organization – and our impact – beyond our flagship community of Durham, NC.
NOW is the time for Book Harvest to do the hard and essential work to transform children’s literacy across the state of North Carolina and beyond. Now more than ever – when less than half of all U.S. children who live in poverty enter kindergarten ready to learn, and when book ownership is not within reach of every child – it is an imperative to bring what we know to other communities.
We are beginning to write Chapter Two of Book Harvest’s story with three shimmering – and achievable – dreams:
Books for every child.
Support for every parent.
Literacy for every community.
We stand in awe of every child’s innate brilliance and boundless potential. It is a privilege to work alongside parents to unlock opportunity for their precious children and to ensure that every child everywhere has what they need to thrive in school and in life.
Children are our future. And every child deserves to grow up in a home rich with books, words, vocabulary, stories. We intend to be there for them, with an abundance of books and literacy support, as they write their stories. I hope you’ll join me.
With gratitude and hope,
P.S. If you were a part of our first chapter, thank you! And as we embark on our second decade, we need you now more than ever!
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